An old fashioned ride on Yogyakarta streets

11:37 pm | | Comments 4

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On all long drives, when I am not behind the steering wheel, I will normally sit on the seat adjacent to driver. I have two reasons, one I will like to have full view of the road ahead, secondly and most importantly, I will like to keep a close eye on the driving to keep it safe. I will like to ensure, driver is comfortable, not sleepy, attentive and careful. Well, Becak ride in Yogyakarta didn’t give me the option for the second one. 

A Becak on the streets of Yogyakarta

Actually, Becak ride was one of the most unusual one in a sense. The passenger is right in front and the one who controls the ride is behind. You have no idea at all about what the person is upto. So, as a passenger I was sitting in upfront with full uninterrupted view of the road ahead—without any intention of doubting the attentiveness of the man—I would often wonder that how would I know if for any reason his attention gets diverted to any other thing for a while! Well, that was not supposed to be. All of them are very humble, careful and attentive.

Becaks waiting for the passengers

Also read: Wonderful Journeys: Bandung to Yogyakarta on train

A Becak in Yogyakarta

Becaks are actually Indonesian version of cycle-rickshaw. I always believe them to be one of the best ways to have a feel of the city. They take you more close to the people. Becaks are three wheeled pedal powered bike. They are said to be derived from original hand-pulled rickshaws that were common in many parts of south, south east and east Asia. Every country and region had different designs for these tricycles. They were phased out from larger parts with increasing motorised traffic on roads, which Becaks were not to compete with. Many cities altogether turned them out or they were restricted to inner streets or in suburbs. Even the name kept evolving. 

A Becak of The Phoenix Hotel, Yogyakarta
Becaks are more of tourist ride

Even in Indonesia, Jakarta doesn’t have Becaks but other main cities of Java island such as Yogyakarta and Surabaya do have them and they actually are very popular among the tourists. They are considered to be a symbol of original Indonesian street culture. Yogyakarta is specially known as a Becak stronghold. People visiting this city are so fond of becaks that many hotels in the city have their own with their branding to cater to their guests. Just as, when we were in Yogyakarta we had a Becak ride from The Phoenix Hotel, our place of stay to Purawisata, where we watched the Ramayana Dance performance. 

Besides Becaks, horse carts are also commonly used in Yogyakarta as local transport. These horse carts are more similar to tongas that we see in India and elsewhere
Horse carts are also used in countryside, but horse carriages in villages and ones in cities are quite different in designs and decor. City carriages are more maintained.

Also read: A bit of old world charm at Yogyakarta

A countryside horse carriage near Borobudur temple on outskirts of Yogyakarta
A village tourism experience on horse carriages in Yogyakarta

As a support transportation, they are perfect as they take you right to your doorstep. While, as a tourist vehicle they take you deep inside the culture of the city. They are the showcase. The way they are numbered, their pictured mudguards, colour patterns, designs- everything is reflective of something specific.

roaming on streets of Yogyakarta also give you a taste of local culture, like this organised band playing to onlookers on the roadside….

You can watch this band play live on the streets of Yogyakarta on my YouTube channel by clicking on the thumbnail below-

….or you can have a feel of more youthful exuberance

Also read: Amazing Ramayana ballet of Java

Food is another part for which you can get a local feel while roaming on the streets or having a Becak or tonga ride
You can find local youth just sitting on the pavements or on footpaths having chats or discussions on a glass of coffee. Yea, that’s true having coffee on street late in evening on a get together is a very common & healthy phenomenon in Yogyakarta. It’s always nice to interact with them and learn more about their life and experiences.
A coffee vendor late in evening on Yogyakarta street. One has to experience this on its visit to the city.
Where there are youth, there is expression and wall graffiti is one of the most important form of this expression. So you can find them as well in Yogyakarta.

Around Yogyakarta: Spectacular Borobudur Buddhist temples

Bikes are also popular among youth in Indonesia and they are also often used as bike-taxis known as Go-Jek. You can find them a lot in Yogyakarta.

You can also watch a video of this Becak ride on streets of Yogyakarta on my YouTube channel by clicking on the thumbnail below-

Have you ever had the experience of Becak Ride in Indonesia? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

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Any questions? Write to me and I will be back with best of my knowledge.

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  1. What a wonderful way to explore the city!! 🙂 I had seen these on Instagram and didnt find them in Bali or Lombok or Jakarta. I am sure it was a memorable ride!

    1. swamiupendra says:

      Indeed Divsi, thanks for dropping by!

  2. Thank you for sharing the ride and congratulations on your blogging award!

    1. swamiupendra says:

      Thanks a lot! Your photos always inspire me.

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